ARE YOUR EMPLOYEES SOLVING ISSUES OR ONLY IDENTIFYING THEM?
In every company, you will find employees who are good at sniffing out problems / risks / challenges in most things or everything. They have this tendency or knack of identifying potential risks when presented with ideas, proposals or initiatives by others. That’s all they do. Point out the negatives in each and everything. While this is not all bad, it’s not good either. It’s important that company management and leaders recognise this and implement a culture of solutions / answers within the organisation.
To begin with, keep in mind that this tendency is not unusual. Most people are good at pointing out shortcomings / lacunas when presented with new ideas. This negative approach is commonplace and is most prevalent in the lower strung of the hierarchy. This is because the management is always on “solution finding” frame of mind, the juniors may not be. They may only focus on the details of each idea/perspective. Reflect on how your team members react to new ideas and proposals. What is the source(s) of opposition? Which aspects cause the most agitation in them? Then reflect on what you would like the employees to do differently. This will help you mould the behaviours in the employees you wish them to inculcate.
The next step is to shower the employees / teams with pep talks on the changes you / the management wish to see in the company. Explain them in detail about your observations and expectations. Take their feedback and you might find why they are the way they are. It could be that they are resistant to the adoption of new tools or feel that their ideas are not welcome. Follow this up by laying down the expectations of ‘problem solving” or ‘positivity’ from all. It should be a part of the mission statement, the culture of the company, and a part of daily work. Team members and their leaders have to be accountable and also need to speak up if there is more of ‘nay sayers’ or negativity is floating around.
Lead the change from the top, ie you. Start any meetings with an emphasis on productivity and solutions to any issue, big or small. Create an atmosphere of openness where all ideas are welcomed and encouraged. Everyone is encouraged to find solutions, instead of only pinpointing risks/drawbacks. Use external sources of information and ideas to get the creative juice flowing whether in the form of guest lectures or seminars or get people from other departments to sit as observers and give suggestions.
Reward and acknowledge the positive nature, actions, and words of individual personnel. Let it be a learning for all concerned and motivation.